Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said the team hopes Thomas Rawls will return to play Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.

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Seahawks coach Pete Carroll acknowledges he has hinted a few times before that running back Thomas Rawls could be returning.

But this time, Carroll insists he means it, saying Monday that if all goes well this week in practice then Rawls will play Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Rawls, a second-year player who led Seattle with 830 rushing yards last season, has not played since the second game of the season at Los Angeles on Sept. 18 when he suffered what was later diagnosed as a hairline fracture in his fibula.

Rawls returned to practice last week but with the team anticipating he would not play against the Patriots.

But this week, Carroll said Rawls is “practicing to play’’ adding that “I’m really excited about this one.’’

Carroll says Rawls “has got to get through the days’’ of practice. But assuming no setbacks then he should play.

“He looked great this past week, but you know how we do this,’’ Carroll said. “We’ll be careful, as we enter into it, to make sure that he’s ready and can handle it. We’ll know much more Friday or Saturday.”

The question will then become how the Seahawks divvy up carries in the backfield.

Christine Michael started the first six games that Rawls missed. But after rushing for just one yard on five carries last week against Buffalo, he was benched in favor of rookie C.J. Prosise.

Prosise, a third-round pick out of Notre Dame. proved to be something of a revelation against the Patriots, leading the Seahawks in both rushing yards (66 on 17 carries) and receiving (87 on seven receptions).

Michael, meanwhile, had just 22 yards on five carries and could be something of the odd man out when Rawls returns.

While Michael was listed as questionable for the Patriots game with a hamstring injury, Carroll said Monday that “he’s fine. He was fine.’’

While Carroll said it was too early to say definitively how the team’s backfield will look with both Rawls and Prosise, he hinted at something of the proverbial 1-2 punch.

“With C.J., the versatility of all the things he seems to be able to do at this point, and knowing that there’s a really style to Thomas that we’re really looking forward to seeing it could be a real nice matchup,’’ Carroll said. “Well see how that works.”

What’s unquestioned is that Prosise, who missed four games earlier in the year with a broken bone in his wrist, will continue to have a big role in the offense.

“I think what stands out the most is the variety of things that he did, that he looked good at,’’ Carroll said. “He ran the ball inside, he ran the ball outside, he caught the ball well in the short passing game to make some first downs and he caught the big ball down the sidelines. He got smacked on the catch and held on to it, just like the receiver that he has in his background. I think it was the variety of things he was able to do for us. He’s been a good pass protector guy in the limited work that he’s had. He picked up one of the calls, got him on the defensive end, outside guy. He didn’t hold up as well as we would have liked, but I think he’s going to be okay there, too, in time. He’s very versatile and I was excited to see that.”

Carroll said Prosise also impressed with the physical nature with which he ran.

“He’s tough, he’s really tough,’’ Carroll said. “He catches one right up the sidelines and he’s got a chance to step out of bounds or whatever and he laid wood to a guy. Our guys really respect that. He was trying to make every inch he could. He had a couple really good finishes, he got smacked a couple times, too. He got surprised by a couple hits and bounced right back up, so he showed a really good mentality about it. He had a ball playing. His attitude during the game and after the game in the locker room and on the way home, he really enjoyed the heck out of it. It’s a good sign.”

In other injury news

  •  Linebacker Mike Morgan, who has been out since the win over the Jets on Oct. 2 when he was placed on Injured Reserve after having sports hernia surgery, returned to practice on Monday. Teams can bring back one player per year from IR. That puts Morgan on track to return to game action for the Dec. 4 contest against Carolina. “Mike has two weeks to get ready,’’ Carroll said. “He’s in great shape, I’ve seen him run and love what he’s doing on the field. We’ll just get him back in football shape now with us and a couple weeks we’ll get him ready to go.”
  • Carroll said Michael Bennett almost certainly will not play against the Eagles but could return the following week at Tampa Bay. He has missed three games after having arthroscopic knee surgery. “I’ll know more this week,’’ Carroll said. “I’ll see him tomorrow and we’ll know more. I don’t know what to tell you on that. It would be miraculous to think he could do it this week I don’t think that’s really in the cards. After this week is over, then there’s some chance how maybe he’ll be able to come back, I don’t know.”
  • Carroll said TE Luke Willson and OT Bradley Sowell each could have probably played and are on track to return against the Eagles. Each has had knee injuries with Willson out since the Atlanta game and Sowell the Arizona game. “They could have gone, they could have played in the game,’’ Carroll said. “We thought it was better to (wait) and let’s go another week with those guys … when it got right down to it, it was the right thing to not go this week. But they will both enter into the week really secure in the thought that they should be able to play this week and we’ll see how that fits together with the roster and all that.’’
  • LB Kevin Pierre-Louis suffered the only new injury in the game, leaving with a hamstring issue. Carroll said it is unclear how long he may be out.